Crime Stoppers South Australia has once again achieved global accolades for its innovative efforts to engage the community to help solve crime and encourage a safer South Australia after it won three categories in the 2017 Crime Stoppers International media awards, announced in Panama.
And the jewel in the award crown saw Crime Stoppers South Australia chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, personally recognised for Outstanding Service with a CSI President’s Award for her leadership as convenor of the Global Awards Committee.
The winning categories for Crime Stoppers SA were:
Best Overall Specialised Program – Crime Stoppers South Australia for Operation Persist: solving cold case murders (For Communities 1 to 3 million)
With criminals and their associates the most likely holders of crucial cold case murder information, Operation Persist 2.0 drew inspiration from the US military by developing playing cards profiling unsolved homicides.
A deck of playing cards featuring the names and images of victims of these cold case murders was developed, with the support of family members. These cold-case playing cards were designed to jog the memories of the inmates who use them, potentially leading to useful tips for investigators, and feature the portraits and names of victims with a short description of the crime, and any reward offered. The bold move ensured direct contact with a massive section of the community who are most likely to have information about these unsolved murders, and was a first for South Australia. Indeed, it is believed to be a world-first for a criminal investigation.
Operation Persist has generated new lines of enquiry and is expected to facilitate the flow of information to investigators for up two years. A total of three murder charges have been laid and another 24 murder files are now under close scrutiny. Fresh investigations in several unsolved cases are well advanced, while a number of other high-profile cases are at various stages of investigation – including the 1994 National Crime Authority office bombing that killed police officer Geoffrey Bowen, the disappearance and murder of Port Lincoln woman Susan Goodwin in 2002 and the suspected murder of Martin Meffert.
Best Website – Crime Stoppers South Australia for website redesign & launch of mobile reporting apps (For Communities 1 to 3 million)
In mid-2016, Crime Stoppers South Australia launched a new website and reporting tool to better engage the community. The website delivered a complete re-design and content refresh to provide visitors with information about a range of open and unresolved cases, profiles of missing and wanted persons, as well as featuring crime prevention campaigns.
As part of its anonymity value-add, the website does not record an IP address when an online report is made, and a handy ‘quick exit’ button was introduced on every page, allowing users to leave a page instantly if they feel they are in danger – the only Crime Stoppers program in Australia to have this unique feature.
In 2016 there were more than 66,865 new visitors, 82,067 total visitors who viewed more than 339,000 pages and resulted in more than 3,850 online information reports raised for police attention. Similarly, cumulative tracking of app downloads has shown strong uptake, with an average of about 180 downloads per month.
Best Special Report / Feature – Crime Stoppers South Australia for 2012 Cold Case Murder: Jayson Doelz (For Communities 1 to 3 million)
Solving the 2012 murder of Adelaide father, Jayson Doelz, continued to elude cold case homicide detectives from SA Police, prompting an approach to Crime Stoppers South Australia for a renewed public appeal – particularly to a previous caller who had provided critical information. Drawing on Crime Stoppers SA’s partnership with 9 News Adelaide, a special weekly unsolved crime segment was developed to profile the case and call for information.
The segment ran twice in 2016 – in January and again in September, and promoted calls to Crime Stoppers about the case. The segment was also promoted via social media, including the Crime Stoppers SA YouTube page and website (achieving nearly 200 hits).
As a result of information from the public and from within the criminal community, in September 2016 police arrested three men, a 26-year-old from Moonta, 29-year-old from Northfield and a 31-year-old from Ingle Farm and charged them with murder. A 28-year-old woman from Ingle Farm, was also charged with assisting the alleged offenders. Police are convinced that the appeal to contact Crime Stoppers – along with this broadcast of the specially-developed unsolved crime segment – played a critical role in bringing Mr Doelz’s killers to justice.
CSI President’s Award for Outstanding Service – Crime Stoppers South Australia chair Ms Sharon Hanlon
Ms Hanlon joined the Crime Stoppers SA Board in November 2011 and became the Chair of the Crime Stoppers SA Board in November 2013, in recognition of her experience as a director on government, mutual and not-for-profit boards; and a strong background in marketing, corporate communications, stakeholder engagement and advocacy at a State and National level.
She is also the current Deputy Chair of Crime Stoppers Australia, and a Director of Crime Stoppers International. In 2017 she accepted the role as Chair of the CSI Global Awards Committee and conducted a significant review of the awards program, including introduction of online submissions. Managing the awards process and supporting the independent judging panel in an entirely voluntary capacity reflects dozens of hours of unpaid work by Ms Hanlon.
About the CSI Awards
The Crime Stoppers International award program recognises leading individuals, programs, activities and campaigns from around the world for excellence and for their contribution to the achievement of the Crime Stoppers International vision – to help stop, solve and prevent crime globally.
This year’s Award winners were announced at an Awards Presentation Ceremony, held in conjunction with the 2017 Crime Stoppers International Annual Conference in Panama City, Panama, in front of an international audience of Crime Stoppers delegates and distinguished guests.